News Archives

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Pure Sole: Slaying a dragon (called domestic violence) - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Dragons have been around a long time.

You respect a dragon.

When one is fighting a dragon, they should never just try to cut off the head.

Many a knight has made that mistake.

When a dragon spews fire and smoke, it isn’t always a sure sign of their dominance.

Sometimes they prey in the darkness.

They hide in caverns.

They sleep under stairs.

They live in the next room.

Somewhere along the line, we decided to live with these dragons.

Their horrible nature became accepted.

Until now.

Times are changing.

Villagers are tired of the toll on their wives, sons and daughters.

Remember when we were young serfs?

The kings of our sports and games and schoolrooms were our fathers, big brothers and mentors.

They took the place of those absent from us.

When our families sent us off to learn the art of knighthood, they trusted we would be taught in the skills of being a godly warrior.

Wrapping spirit fingers around the handle of a 59-inch broadsword and swinging at an offending backside used to be the protocol for staying the course.

Times changed.

The young began outgrowing their mentors.

The old world of our teachers was overrun by access to a new way of life that moved faster and exposed more of life to our young.

Now, the leaders of our youths have begun to choose a way of honoring those around them, to unite in a cause that can slowly bring a change in the horror and suffrage of the dragon’s spell.

Now we coach our young boys to be men.

This will not be an easy fight for them.

It requires relearning the art of dragon-fighting that they were raised in.

It means they must bring the battle to the masses and hope others listen.

They must bring to light the 20 or so different languages on our lands and the best of each culture’s traditions and values in a united cause.

They must be wary of the fire and smoke.


When slaying a dragon, it is always good to flail at the tail, nip at the claws, jab at the scales and slowly work towards the head.

Dragons have been around a long time.

You respect a dragon.

That is how you defeat it.

Friday March 07, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall to Kayhi Kings 59-54 in elimination game - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team led 7-2 early in Fridays 4A Region V tournament elimination game against Ketchikan but the Kings went on a tear with six 3-pointers in the first half including three by sophomore Matt Standley to take a 28-12 lead at the break.

JDHS only found one basket in the second stanza, a Bryce Swofford shot off of a power rebound.

“The Ketchikan kids came out and executed real well against our zone,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “The game was decided in the first half. They may have made more three pointers in that game than they have all season.”

Kayhi knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half and scored 14 points in both the first and second quarters.

“At halftime the guys talked about how they wanted their season to go,” Casperson said. “They could either roll over and die or they could get out there and compete and be satisfied with our effort, win, lose or draw.”

The Crimson Bears competed.

“They gave us the opportunity to compete,” Casperson said. “We got the score to within three.’

JDHS outscored the Kings 42-31 in the second half.

“That is not quite good enough when you are down 16 at the half,” Casperson said. “Close but not quite.”

Senior Kevin Guimmayen tallied three 3-pointers while Gunnar Schultz and Kaleb Tompkins notched one each.

With 7:13 remaining in the third quarter, and trailing 32-12, the Crimson Bears went on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 38-25.

Nathan Klein started the fourth quarter with a shot from past the top of the key and outside the arch to trigger a 7-0 JDHS run that pulled the Crimson Bears to within 37-34.

Kayhi’s Colton Paulson and Ned Day answered but six straight free throws by Adam Empson and Guimmayen kept JDHS close at 41-38 with 3:57 remaining.

Ketchikan’s Alex Pihl would hit 10 free throws in a row and 15-16 in the final three minutes, scoring 15 of the Kings final 18 points.

Pihl led the Kings with 20 points, Matt Standley 11, Isaiah Navales and Omar Mendoza 10 apiece, Mo Bullock 4, and Nick Whicker and Ned Day two each.

Kayhi hit 22-34 at the line: JDHS went 6-16.

Guimmayen and Adam Empson led the Crimson Bears with 16 points apiece, Schultz 6, Tompkins 5, Swofford 4, Klein 3 and Jacob Thibodeau 2.

The Crimson Bears will return 90-percent of their scoring from this season.

“I was extremely proud of our guys,” Casperson said. “They carried themselves with class and with dignity and conducted themselves in a respectful manner all season long. That is more important to me than our wins and loses. You have to win with class and lose with dignity. They certainly did both of those things. I don’t believe I could be more proud of them. Our seniors established a demeanor and work ethic that should set the tone for our guys coming back.”

Thursday March 06, 2014
Kings clobber JDHS in opening round of boys Region V basketball tournament - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team fell behind 14-2 in the first quarter and 21-8 at the half against the Ketchikan Kings and could not make up the difference in a 50-38 loss to open the Region V basketball tournament Wednesday night at JDHS.

Ketchikan hit just 19-42 from the charity stripe in the game (14-31 in the fourth quarter) but still had enough to carry the win.

JDHS’ Kaleb Tompkins, Kevin Guimmayen and Gunnar Schultz carried the Crimson Bears in the second half.

Tompkins and Schultz tallied five points each in a 14-6 third quarter run that put JDHS within five points at the end of the stanza, 27-22.

Bryce Swofford closed the score to three points at 29-26 and Tompkins added a basket to keep it at three again with 31-28.

The Crimson Bears picked up the pressure, but Kayhi responded with a 19-10 run to end the game.

Tompkins led the Crimson Bears with 9 points, Guimmayen added 8, Schultz 7, Swofford and Nathan Klein 4 apiece, Rahul Chhabria and Adam Empson 3 each.

JDHS hit 7-12 from the line.

Alex Pihl led Kayhi with 18 points, Isaiah Navales added 12, Mo Bullock 9, Ned Day 5, Colton Paulsen 4 and Malik Almenzor 2.

“They rattled our cages a little in the third quarter,” Pihl told the Ketchikan Daily News. “But that is why we have intense practices for moments like these.”

Ketchikan advances to play top seed Thunder Mountain at 5 p.m. tonight. JDHS plays at 1:15 p.m. Friday in an elimination game against the loser of TMHS/KTN.

Tuesday March 04, 2014
Who is loudest? Regional tournament will decide - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Loudest is best.

According to a Juneau-Douglas High School pep band member, that makes cross-town rival Thunder Mountain the band to beat. Yes, at the Region V basketball championships, more is at stake than just a hoops title.

Pep bands, cheerleaders, dance teams and students from across Southeast will start rooting today at 8 a.m. when the 3A Petersburg Vikings girls, with bruising Dino Brock of Wrangell High School, take on the Sitka Lady Wolves, coached by Kathy Forrester.

That game will be followed by the 3A boys battle between the Vikings and the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves at 9:45 a.m.

Petersburg coach Rick Brock, Dino’s brother and a defensive hacker in his days at Wrangell High School, will face their cousin, Mt. Edgecumbe coach Archie Young.

Young was deep-three threat in his own right at Wrangell High and now preaches defense to his boys at MEHS. Rick’s son Michael will be at the point for the Braves. He is a lefty. Lefties are sneaky.

There are going to be enough Brocks in the gym to start a sneaker brand.

This is what Southeast ball is all about.


With five seniors, the Vikings boys have experience — and some youthful size in 6-foot-6 junior Colby Bell and 6-foot-6 freshman Jesse Lantiegne.

According to my recollection, the Brocks like to add an inch in the program — but after seeing these lads in person, they may have subtracted. They are tall.

Mt. Edgecumbe is always cool because the players hail from all over. This year we have Hydaburg, Galena, Kwethluk, Mountain Village, St. Michael, Port Lions, Anchorage, Dillingham, St. Paul Island, Quinhagak, Kotlik, Palmer, Golovin, Hoonah, Nome, Bethel and Elim among the two teams nestled at the base of the school’s namesake volcano.

Meshing the styles of a dozen villages is always a handful of work, but that is why Young is at the top of the college-coaching list if he ever decides to move on.

However, waiting tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. with the No. 1 seed is Sitka High. The Wolves have 10 seniors, a virtual legislature of experience.

Two of those seniors, 6-foot-6ers Brian Way and Kendrick Payton, need special stickers on their cars if traveling in low bridge areas.

Lady Braves head coach Dane Vincent has the girls seeded first.

So the Vikings girls and the Sitka Lady Wolves, who play at 8 a.m., will need the rest of that day and night to rest up when the winner faces Mt. Edgecumbe tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

Petersburg has on the roster — you guessed it — another Brock. Dino’s sophomore niece Ruby has the family aggressiveness, but the team gets a lot of action from seniors Sierra Streuli, Grace Weller and Fran Abbott and the talented underclass of junior Shalie Dahl and sophomore Kylie Wallace, among others.

Sitka senior Megan Reid powers the inside for the Lady Wolves, and classmate Sophie Mudry controls the outside, but junior Sid Riggs may be the most dangerous. Fans should also keep an eye out for freshman Zoe Krupa, a brick off the old block from her dad, former coach Rich Krupa.

Morning games are always the toughest at tourney time and the loser of this one finds themselves in another 8 a.m. clash Friday. The winners get an 11:30 a.m. match tomorrow against Mt. Edgecumbe.

The 2A teams will rock the gym for the middle four games today.

It has been a long time since Metlakatla has ruled the roost in the league, and this year both the boys and girls brackets have identical seedings.

At 11:30 a.m. today the MissChiefs (14-3 Overall, 11-1 Southeast) will take on the Glacier Bears girls, or Lady Glacier Bears, or the team from Haines of the opposite sex.

Don’t get me started.

Following the girls, the Chiefs (14-4, 10-2) will live up to their top billing by tipping off against the Glacier Bears boys at 1:15 p.m.

Metlakatla is a really balanced team led by senior Drew Yliniemi. A 5-foot-something guard can be an impact player.

Remember a certain 5-foot-maybe-8 PSG Vikings guard who holds the Southeast single-game scoring record? 69 points? Without overtime? Without the three-point line? Ring a bell?

Dave Ohmer did that damage in 1971 on a trip to the Mt. Edgecumbe fieldhouse. I heard those rims were used as Sitka Sound filler and the nets were burned in effigy shortly afterward. No player has been able to get his groove ever since.

The Chiefs also have Tristan Alexander in the middle, and like all true Annette Islanders these boys — and girls — are not afraid to shoot.

With last names that include Marsden, Henderson, Hudson, Hayward, Guthrie, Williams and Nelson, one expects the ball to be lofted often.

Haines will be dangerous. After dropping their first eight conference games, the Glacier Bears added a transfer player and swept Wrangell and Craig. They have seven seniors, and coach Steve Fossman is looking to send the bunch up north where they may be able to attend a UAA game and watch Fossman’s son, Kyle, play.

The Craig LADY Panthers (15-6, 8-6) and Wrangell LADY Wolves play at 3:15 p.m. These two teams have never played lady-like, and there should be a floor burn or five after this game.

Coach DJ Hansen will have the LPs ready to defend last season’s region and state titles.

The losers of the 2A girls openers play at 8 a.m. tomorrow in an elimination game; the winners meet in tomorrow’s 6:45 p.m. contest.

The boys game between the two schools is just as feisty and, at 5 p.m., is going to spoil some dinner times.

Coaching genius Ray Stokes — yes he had the Brocks and Young in his stable — always gets the most out of his charges, and he has another of his offspring (sophomore Blake) balling from the left-hand side this season with leftie senior Robbie Marshall. Lefties always cause problems (see Brock comma Michael).

Lefties definitely have an advantage over us Scandinavians so it is a good thing we have the 2A/3A split. We will just have to wait and see if anything happens in the cross over games.

The Wolves are one of the few 2A teams who have beaten MET this year.

That occurred, according to a reliable source, because the red-and-white played really well in their home den, the Chiefs were using square basketballs, the heavens opened and pigs flew.

To earn a game against the top seed, the Wolves need to get past No. 2 seed Craig. When the Panthers boys are on, they can shoot. If they miss, 6-foot-6 senior Lincoln Isaacs gets first dibs on the trash.

The losers of the 2A boys opening games play at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow in a loser-out game; the winners play in the prime 8:30 p.m. slot.

Prime time games tonight are the 4A clashes; girls at 6:45 p.m. and boys at 8:30 p.m.

Local fans never tire watching the Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas girls square off, and although the Falcons (14-10, 6-2) and Crimson Bears (3-21, 0-6) may seem mismatched by numbers, they became increasingly better games as the season wound down.

The JDHS girls live and die by seniors Kaitlin Fagerstrom and Kymberlee Kelly, but they have exuberance to spare. If they can string together four quarters for a dollar, they are a team to contend with.

The TMHS girls are on the verge of a title. Junior Ashley Young is a force inside, sophomore Ava Tompkins is a talent on the wing, and senior Michaela Demmert is a heady ball handler. Throw in the scrappy juniors Cheyenne Ekis and Siosi Tupou, and this team can take another win from top-seed Ketchikan.

The Falcons topped Kayhi twice, winning at home 46-41 (lost the second game 49-47) and on the road 37-35 (lost the first game 53-29).

Ketchikan will get the winner tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. and the losers of the opening series play Friday in an elimination game at 11:30 a.m.

The Lady Kings (15-6, 6-2) feature senior experience with Jayley Taylor and Alexis Crellin and talented underclassmen including Alexis Biggerstaff, Eliah Anderson, Charley Edwardson, Courtney Kemble and AJ Dela Cruz.

Tonight’s 8:30 p.m. clash between the JDHS (8-14, 2-6) and Kayhi boys (13-9, 5-3) should be fun. Their history dates back to 1930 when the Kings, called the Polar Bears then, started a back-to-back title run over the Douglas Huskies.

Kayhi began a five-year region title run in 1964 in the Capital City and it became known as the “John Brown era” in 1965 as the freshman star made his first appearance and led the Kings to multiple state titles as well.

The shorts are longer today. The games are still as intense.

Six seniors lead Kayhi up and down the floor, but the team’s strength is junior Alex Pihl at the guard and sophomore Mo Bullock in the paint.

The Crimson Bears have found chemistry late in the season. Junior Adam Empson leads a yard sale of players that include a freshman (Bryce Swofford), a sophomore (Kaleb Tompkins), a classmate (Gunnar Schultz) and a senior or two (Kevin Guimmayen and Dartanan Hodge-Campos).

The loser rests until 1:15 p.m. Friday. The winner gets top seed Thunder Mountain at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The Falcons are what Southeast basketball has been about since 1929, when the Petersburg Vikings took the first All Alaska Championship in a three-game series over Fairbanks.

The Vikings traveled by fishing boat and train and after two weeks reached their opponent’s gym. They lost 16-11, won 18-17 and clinched 25-20. The news was spread by telegraph: “Petersburg All Alaska Champs.”

They were role models and role players. Harold Runstad, Joe Kahklen, Frank Gordon, Herb Mjorud, Arnold “Swede” Wasvick, Aubrey Shaquani, Louie McDonald and Leo Ness.

Line them up with TMHS.

Matt Seymour, Ben Jahn, Mike Uddipa, Luke Nye, Josh Palmer, Alan Fisher and Ryan Lee. These are seniors who meshed in middle school.

Add in juniors Jacob Calloway, Collin Ludeman, Brendan Pietz and RJ Markovich, sophomore Guy Bean and freshman Chase Saviers and, sans the train, this team can be special.

Can be.

On any given night, the Southeast Conference is up for grabs.

A team can finish first or last.

Even a bad-shooting team that has everything roll in during a game can be pretty amazing.

And pretty loud.

Welcome to Region V tournament basketball.

Sunday March 02, 2014
Falcons salvage region title with 77-66 win over Crimson Bears -Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     One night after falling 67-66 to the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears, the Thunder Mountain Falcons made a statement that they are still the team to beat when the Region V Tournament begins on Wednesday.

The Falcons broke open a close game on Saturday to defeat the Crimson Bears 77-68 and claim a piece of the Southeast Conference crown.

“We are definitely happy to have the regular season under us,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “It was definitely a big win for us tonight. But it is not a crown yet.”

TMHS (16-7 Overall, 5-3 Southeast Conference) and Ketchikan (13-9, 5-3) share the crown by record but the Falcons hold the point differential tiebreaker, which gives them the No. 1 Region V tournament seed. JDHS (8-14, 2-6) is the No. 3 seed.

The Falcons’ senior scoring quartet of Matt Seymour, Ryan Lee, Ben Jahn and Josh Palmer got the fireworks going early as TMHS opened a 19-9 first quarter advantage.

JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit back-to-back 3-point scores, one of the old-fashioned hoop and foul variety, to keep the Crimson Bears close at 19-15 starting the second stanza.

“I think our defensive energy was key,” Blasco said. “Defensive energy the entire game. We pressured them a lot more than the night before.”

The Crimson Bears turned the tide to take a 33-32 halftime advantage and did still manage seven 3-point shots but the Falcons bench was key.

“Both the first and third quarter I got guys in foul trouble,” Blasco said. “I was very pleased with guys coming off the bench and stepping up.”

Alan Fisher, Chase Saviers and Trent Uddipa played major roles stepping onto the floor.

The TMHS seniors closed the game from the free throw line.

Palmer led the Falcons with 20 points and went 13-15 at the free throw line. Seymour added 14 points with 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and was 3-4 from the line.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 15 points, 7 rebounds and was 7-10 at the line. Tompkins added 14 points and was 5-8 from the field.


TMHS – Palmer 20, Seymour 14, Lee 13, Luke Nye 8, Jahn 7, Fisher 6, Chase Saviers 4, Trent Uddipa 2.

JDHS – Empson 15, Tompkins 14, Dar Hodge-Campos 12, Nathan Klein 8, Jacob Thibodeau 7, Manase Maake 4, Kevin Guimmayen 4, Bryce Swofford 2, Gunnar Schultz 1, Rahul Chhabria 1.

JDHS 13-19 freethrows; TMHS 22-39.

The Falcons will now get the No. 1 seed at the Region V tournament that starts on Wednesday at JDHS.

Ketchikan and JDHS play on Wednesday and TMHS gets the winner.

“Now we go study film on both Juneau and Ketchikan,” Blasco said. “This weekend was a great precursor to what this next weekend is going to be. Everybody is well balanced. It is going to be very competitive basketball.”

Region V tournament schedules and previews will run in Tuesdays paper.

Saturday March 01, 2014
Crimson Bears boys stun Falcons 67-66 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     It’s official.

Anyone can beat anyone in Southeast high school basketball, and the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears stunned the state’s fourth-ranked Thunder Mountain Falcons 67-66 on Friday night in the JDHS gym.

“On any given weekend down here, anyone can win,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “This was old-school Southeast basketball. The kids on both teams competed, the fans on both sides were cheering and the atmosphere was exciting. That is what Southeast basketball is about.”

Sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit one of two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining to give JDHS a three-point lead at 67-64.

The Crimson Bears fouled TMHS junior Jacob Calloway on the inbound pass. Calloway missed the front end of a one-and-one, but senior Matt Seymour tipped in the rebound. JDHS threw the next pass the length of the court as time expired.

“I am just happy that we won the game,” Tompkins said. “That is all I care about.”

On a night when the banged-up, youthful Crimson Bears were not supposed to compete with the senior, poised Falcons, the stars aligned and the hoop was as large as the heavens.

JDHS hit 24-47 from the field, and 13-26 from beyond the arch, which is a miracle in itself considering the Crimson Bears shot just 11 percent in their last game against the Falcons. TMHS hit 25-45 from the field and 3-8 from the 3-point line.

Tompkins buried 4-8 from past the arch and Swofford was a perfect 3-3 past the line and finished with 12 points.

“I just focused on the shot,” Swofford said. “I did not expect to have the game I did. I was just approaching this game with the attitude to play the best that I could.”

JDHS led 53-45 starting the fourth quarter, but the Falcons went on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 57-55 with four minutes remaining.

A Tompkins basket was answered by Falcons senior Josh Palmer and classmate Ryan Lee tied the score on a rebound and put back with 2:37 remaining.

Senior Adam Empson gave the Crimson Bears the lead again, hitting one free throw while the Falcons went cold at the charity stripe.

“We just came out aggressive and pushed the pace of the game,” Empson said. “I don’t think there was a point in the game that I ever relaxed.”

JDHS junior forward Nathan Klein hit his second 3-pointer of the game with 1:45 remaining for a four-point cushion, and senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos drove baseline and lofted a shot high off the glass for a six-point spread with a minute left.

Calloway and Seymour answered an Empson free throw and with 19.7 seconds remaining the Crimson Bears couldn’t inbound the ball and called time out.

A pair of missed free throws by JDHS put the rebound in the hands of Falcons senior Ben Jahn who threw an outlet pass to Seymour for a basket and two-point deficit of 66-64 with 8.9 seconds remaining.

Tompkins then sealed the win for JDHS and Seymour tipped in the final Falcons points.

“It was a very entertaining high school basketball game,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “You have to give them credit. They shot the lights out. They maintained a very high level of energy for the whole game. It was a fun game to be a part of. It was just disappointing we came out on the other end. JD came to play and got the better of us tonight.”

The Falcons did not contest the three-point shot

“I don’t like to give up 67 points,” Blasco said. “So I am going to see what our defense could have done better.”

Thunder Mountain’s Seymour scored the first 3-pointer of the game which was answered by Klein for JDHS. The Falcons led for the last time in the game at 7-6 and the Crimson Bears were up 21-17 after one quarter.

The Falcons closed to within one point with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter and then within two at the 2:26 mark but JDHS closed the quarter on a 10-4 run to lead 40-32 at the half.

Ryan Lee had eight points in the third quarter for the Falcons and Palmer had a basket, four assists and two steals in the stanza to keep TMHS close at 53-45 starting the final period.

“He is a solid point guard,” Blasco said. “We have been working with him a lot to take over that point guard leadership role and I think he has accepted it and has done well with it. I feel comfortable putting the ball in his hands all game.”

The loss means that the Falcons must win Saturday to clinch a share of the regular season crown with Ketchikan. TMHS holds the point differential tiebreaker, which would give them the No. 1 Region V tournament seed. A loss to JDHS on Saturday gives the conference title and No. 1 seed to Kayhi. JDHS is the No. 3 seed.

JDHS Boys 67, TMHS Boys 66

TMHS- Ryan Lee- 16 PTS, 3 RB, 8-12 FG, 0-2 FT; Josh Palmer- 12 PTS, 1 RB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 6-11 FG, 0-3 3-P; Matt Seymour- 10 PTS, 4 RB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-2 FT, 1-4 3-PT; Jacob Calloway- 8 PTS, 6 RB, 1 AST, 2-3 FG, 3-5 FT; Colin Ludeman- 6 PTS, 4 AST, 3-3 FG, 0-1 FT; Trent Uddipa- 5 PTS, 1 STL, 2-2 FG, 1-1 FT; Alan Fisher- 5 PTS, 1 RB, 2-3 FG, 1-1 3-PT; Ben Jahn- 2 PTS, 4 RB, 2 AST, 1-2 FG; Luke Nye- 2 PTS, 1 AST, 1-2 FG.

JDHS- Kaleb Tompkins- 19 PTS, 2 AST, 7-11 FG, 1-2 FT, 4-8 3-PT; Bryce Swofford- 12 PTS, 2 RB, 1 AST, 4-6 FG, 2-5 FT, 2-3 3-PT; Adam Empson- 10 PTS, 5 RB, 13 AST, 1 STL, 4-10 FG, 2-4 FT, 0-1 3-PT; Nathan Klein- 9 PTS, 9 RB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-2 FT, 2-5 3-PT; Kevin Guimayen- 8 PTS, 2 RB, 3-6 FG, 2-5 3-PT; Gunnar Schultz- 7 PTS, 1 RB, 2-4 FG, 1-1 FT, 2-4 3-PT; Dar Hodge- Campos- 2 PTS, 1 RB, 1-4 FG.

Friday February 28, 2014
Hail Seniors! Play Ball! - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe

What is round, rolls on the floor and is red, black, blue and silver all over.

Hint: It looks like a basketball.

No real joke here.

That is what it looks like when Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain get to hooping; a rock-and-roll, upside-down tumble along the sidelines and through the key as bragging rights are claimed.

The red-and-black of the JDHS boy’s basketball team has been a hue of black-and-blue this season and tonight the Crimson Bears will tip-off without star center Bruce Jones.

The 6-foot-6 junior suffered a meniscus tear in his knee during last Saturday’s game against Kodiak and will be out the remainder of the season.

This has come at a time when Jones was really starting to be an aggressive force inside for the Crimson Bears.

The injury also comes just as JDHS junior guard Adam Empson and freshman wing Stewart Conn return to the lineup, both from ankle injuries.

That trio would have given JDHS a respectable chance to reclaim the Region V title lost last season to TMHS.

Coach Robert Casperson knows he has enough talent and players who can step up.

They now need to find a strategy to slow down both TMHS and Ketchikan.

The Falcons, meanwhile, may be returning 6-foot-5 junior Jacob Calloway to the floor for limited minutes after missing the past eight games with an ankle injury.

Coach John Blasco will not be pushing the ball handling, rebounding, defending and shooting swing player as the Region tourney looms in another week.

Conditioning will be the key.

This weekend’s senior appreciation series between JDHS and TMHS will set the pairing for the Region V Tournament that follows on Mar. 5-8, also at JDHS.

The TMHS boys (15-6 overall, 4-2 Southeast Conference) are the team to beat in the Alaska Panhandle and through most of the remaining state.

The Falcons slipped a notch to fourth in the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches poll this week, partially due to their split on the road in Ketchikan.

The Kings (13-9, 5-3) have now taken a game at home and on the road from the Falcons.

If the Falcons win one-of-two games from the JDHS boys (7-13, 1-5) this weekend they earn the No. 1 seed for the region tourney by virtue of point differential over the Kings.

The TMHS boys must win both games to earn the regular-season title out right.

The Crimson Bears girls (3-19, 0-6) can do little to improve their placement when they play the Falcons girls (12-10, 4-2) this weekend. They can, however, keep working on an answer to coach Dee Boster’s question, “How can we put four complete quarters together in one game?”

And they can see what might work in the tourney, as the Falcons will be their first round opponent.

The Ketchikan girls (15-6, 6-2) have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Region tourney by virtue of the head-to-head point differential tiebreaker over TMHS. If the Falcons sweep JDHS this weekend they will officially share the regular-season crown with Kayhi, but the Lady Kings have the nod.

TMHS coach Tanya Nizich would love to put a crown in the Falcons trophy case.

While I have mentioned most of the seniors, I haven’t touched on the JDHS pep band and dance teams yet.

Those crazy upper class cats sitting aloft in the Bear Den alcove and wailing away are pep band officers David Dumesnil, Seth Bodine and Ali Hiley, along with band members Alex Soboleff, Riley Cummins, Abram Leigh, Johnny Connelly, Sam Adam, Ivan Urrita-Narino and Keenan Wright.

And those awesome senior ladies that cause a blackout most halftimes when they wow the crowd are Brandi Hall, Hannah Cassell, Corby Abel, Randi Held, Jessica Sjoroos and Brooke Moss.

So be ready to honor the JDHS girl’s basketball team directly following their 6:15 p.m. game on Saturday against Thunder Mountain, and be prepared to pay respects to the JDHS boys hoopsters and the cheer/stunt and dance team roughly five minutes before their 8 p.m. tip-off Saturday against the TMHS boys. Friday’s games will be at the same times, 6:15 p.m. for girls and 8 p.m. for boys. JV boys will play at 2:30 p.m. and JV girls at 4:30 p.m. both days.

Tonight’s games have meaning, and tomorrow nights have bragging rights, plus both have a lot of seniors who deserve flowers, balloons and an ice pack or two.

Southeast Conference Standings:

4A boys - Thunder Mountain 4-2, Ketchikan 5-3, Juneau-Douglas 1-5.

4A girls - Ketchikan 6-2, Thunder Mountain 4-2, Juneau-Douglas 0-6.

3A boys - Sitka 6-0, Petersburg 3-5, Mt. Edgecumbe 1-5.

3A girls - Mt. Edgecumbe 5-1, Petersburg 5-3, Sitka 0-6.

The Sitka boys and girls play Mt. Edgecumbe today and Saturday.

2A boys - Metlakatla 10-2, Craig 6-6, Wrangell 4-8, Haines 4-8.

The Wrangell boys won the seeding tiebreaker against Haines based on head-to-head point differential.

2A girls - Metlakatla 11-1, Craig 8-4, Wrangell 3-9, Haines 2-10.

AABC poll:

4A Boys - 1. Lathrop, 2. West Anchorage, 3. West Valley, 4. Thunder Mountain, 5. Colony.

4A Girls - 1. Kodiak, 2. West Anchorage, 3. Dimond, 4. West Valley, 5. Ketchikan.

3A Boys - 1. Monroe Catholic, 2. Anchorage Christian, 3. Bethel, 4. Grace Christian, 5. Nome.

3A Girls - 1. Anchorage Christian, 2. Valdez, 3. Mt Edgecumbe, 4. Nikiski, 5. Petersburg.

2A Boys - 1. Bristol Bay High, 2. Dillingham, 3. Metlakatla, 4. Hooper Bay, 5. Unalakleet.

2A Girls - 1. Dillingham, 2. Glennallen, 3. Unalakleet, 4. Hooper Bay, 5. Metlakatla.

1A Boys - 1. Klawock, 2. Noatak, 3. Yakutat, 4. Noorvik, 5. Scammon Bay.

1A Girls - 1. Nikolaevsk, 2. Cook Inlet Academy, 3. Shishmaref, 4. Kake, 5. Newhalen.

Thursday February 27, 2014
Juneau-Douglas will honor seniors during basketball clash with Thunder Mountain - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School basketball teams will honor seniors during Saturday’s series against Thunder Mountain at JDHS. Also honored will be seniors on the Cheer/Stunt team, Dance and Pep Band.

The Crimson Bears girl’s basketball team will honor their seniors at the conclusion of their 6:15 p.m. game and the Crimson Bears boys will honor their seniors prior to the start of their 8 p.m. game along with the Cheer/ Stunt, Dance and Pep Band seniors.

Coaches sent in their thoughts on seniors via email.

Crimson Bears boys basketball (coach Robert Casperson):

Trevor Rich – One of the unsung heroes of the JDHS basketball program this year would have to be Trevor Rich. He shows up every day with a positive attitude, ready, willing, and able to give all that he has… every single time he steps on the floor. He is a much-needed “coach on the court” in games, based on his ability to communicate with his teammates. His steady improvement over the years has made him a reliable force on the interior, both offensively and defensively. Trevor is truly a gentle giant, always looking out for the wellbeing of his friends and teammates. Sadly, his senior season was cut short due to injury, but that hasn’t dampened his desire to remain a part of the program and support his team. Trevor’s effort and enthusiasm will be missed, but I know that he will be very successful as he moves on from Juneau-Douglas High School.

Kevin Guimmayen – (Speaking Captain) Kevin has ascended into the starting point guard position in his senior season and provided the team with leadership and guidance. By spending time working on his shot during the offseason, he has become someone that can be relied on to hit the three-point shot. Despite his willingness to share his smile quickly with those around him, when it is time to work he is all business. Kevin consistently encourages his younger teammates to keep going and work harder, which has helped them improve as the season has progressed. His teammates respect his ability to motivate and at the beginning of the year selected Kevin to be our speaking captain. I am confident that skills Kevin has displayed this year while working with his teammates will serve him well after graduation.

Dartanan (Dar) Hodge-Campos – As multi-sport athlete at Juneau-Douglas High School, Dar has brought his athleticism to the hardwood for another season. His competitive nature has brought some much-needed fire to our practices and games. He deeply enjoys the camaraderie of his teammates and has displayed more leadership as the season has progressed. Through pushing his limits and finding out the importance of commitment to goals, Dar has grown a lot in his senior season. I anticipate that he will use his experiences this year to transition successfully into his next endeavors.

Rahul Chhabria – During his 4 years with the program Rahul has improved as much as, if not more, than anyone I have ever worked with in my 14 years coaching at Juneau-Douglas High School. Rahul is the epitome of “first one in, last one out”. He shows up an hour before practice and stays long after our drill work has ended. This level of dedication has taken him from playing in C/JV games last year to our first guard off the bench. I know that he will apply his determination and work ethic after graduation to become a success in his chosen profession.

Crimson Bears girls basketball (coach Dee Boster):

Kayla Balovich - Kayla played C and JV as a freshman. Her sophomore and junior year she played varsity and was a swing player in JV games. She tore her ACL in the fall and was unable to play basketball this year. She has served as manager for the team. Kayla is a quiet yet determined young lady and we miss her “up and under” baseline post moves but we are glad she has been around the gym throughout the year.

Kaitlin Fagerstrom - Kaitlin has been on the varsity team all four years. She was a swing player in JV games her freshman and sophomore years and has started on varsity the last two years. She is probably the fastest player on the court at any given moment and when she “turns it on” she can get in a mode that is exciting (although sometimes scary) to watch. Kaitlin’s outside shooting and her ability to post up have led to high rebounding and scoring games and are definitely assets to the team.

Kacey Jackson - Kacey played C team her freshman year and JV her sophomore and junior years. She is a varsity starter this year. Kacey tore her ACL her freshman year and worked hard in the off-season to come back her sophomore year. Kacey is one of the quietest kids we have in the program. She has always been eager to learn and will do anything the coaches ask. She has a calming effect, which often times the coach needs. She works hard and brings a solid post defense to the game.

Kymberlee Kelly - Kym played C/JV as a freshman. She played varsity as a sophomore and was a swing player in JV games. She has been a starter on varsity the last two years. Kym brings a quiet aggressiveness to the court. She often times goes unnoticed until you look at the stats and see she delivered big on both rebounding and points. She is a defensive stopper as well.

Tori Fogg - Tori played C/JV as a freshman. Her sophomore and Junior year she played varsity and was a swing player in JV games. She is a starter on varsity this year. Tori has developed into a quiet leader on the court, is a hard worker, a good defender and has developed a crossover move that when executed is fun to watch. Tori isn’t afraid to push her teammates to become better.

Boster stated that Fagerstrom, Fogg and Kelly have their own kind of crazy personality and together make it hard not to smile and laugh.

“Often times at the most inappropriate times,” Boster said. “Like when the kids do something wrong and all you want to do is yell at them. Kacey and Kayla bring quietness and calmness to the gym that often times is desired. Whatever each brings, outside the X’s and O’s in their unique way (and without knowing), they have reminded the coaches to laugh, relax and take things into perspective. They make life fun and they will be missed.”

Senior Cheer/Stunt team members are:

Misha Culver, Jacob Hamilton, Breanna Helf, JD Hudson, Emily Keithahn, Sarah Landen, Tanya Miramontes, Elden Punongbayan, Sally Roesel, Natalia Sabova, George Sua, Derik Vance.

Dance and Pep Band rosters were not received by press time.

Sunday February 23, 2014
Juneau-Douglas boys swept by Kodiak - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team fell to the Kodiak Bears for second night in a row, falling 62-56 on Saturday at the JDHS gym. The Crimson Bears lost 57-49 on Friday.

On Saturday the two teams traded baskets through the night and the score was tied at the half 25-25.

“It was close all the way through,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “It was a fun ball game. We had a full house and the kids were hitting shots.”

With the absence of Junior guard Adam Empson to injury, younger players have been called upon to fill the void. Junior Gunnar Schultz and Sophomore Kaleb Tompkins combined for 25 points and six 3-pointers in Saturday’s game to keep the Crimson Bears close between three periods of play.

“We had a slow start in the third quarter,” Casperson said. “That is a part of our mental preparation. We have to be ready to go all the time.”

Kodiak’s senior sharpshooter Austin Frick went on his own run when he nailed four from beyond the arch in less than a minute to open the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.

Game stats-

JDHS- Kaleb Tompkins- 13 PTS, 1 RB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 5-8 FG, 3-6 3-PT; Gunnar Schultz- 12 PTS, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4-7 FG, 1-2 FT, 3-5 3-PT; Nathan Klein- 9 PTS, 8 RB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-3 FT, 1-2 3-PT; Dar Hodge-Campos- 6 PTS, 1 RB, 2 AST, 0-2 FG, 6-6 FT, 0-1 FT; Jacob Thibodeau- 5 PTS, 3 RB, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3-PT; Bryce Swofford- 4 PTS, 6 RB, 1 AST, 2-2 FG, 0-2 F; Manase Maake- 4 PTS, 1 RB, 2 AST, 2-4 FG, 0-1 FT; Bruce Jones- 3 PTS, 3 RB, 0-3 1-3 FG, 1-6 FT.

KHS- Austin Frick- 19 PTS, 5 RB, 3 AST, 6-14 FG, 2-4 FT, 5-10 3-PT; Alec Canate-Hall- 13 PTS, 3 RB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 4-7 FG, 3-4 FT, 0-1 3-PT; Scott Garcia- 14 PTS, 4 RB, 7-9 FG, 0-2 FT; Jemuel Mangalus- 8 PTS, 1 AST, 3 STL, 2-5 FG, 3-5 FT, 1-4 3-PT; Ryan Bezona- 4 PTS, 5 RB, 2-4 FG, 0-2 FT, Billy Alcaide- 3 PTS, 1 RB, 1-1FG, 1-1 3-PT; Max Mutch- 2 PTS, 1-1 FG.



JDHS put themselves into an early hibernation and struggled to get into Friday nights 57-49 loss to Kodiak.

The Crimson Bears fell behind 17-4 in the first quarter, even though the first play of the game seemed to be a JDHS statement shot.

Bruce Jones took a lob pass at the rim from Gunnar Schultz to give JDHS the first two points of the game but the Crimson Bears never had a clean shot again as Kodiak closed out the quarter with a 17-2 run.

Coach Robert Casperson had the Crimson Bears in a half-court trap and Kodiak coach David Anderson had the Bears pressing full court in the second quarter.

JDHS found the rim a bit kinder as they tallied 15 points with Kevin Guimmayen finding his stroke outside and Jones battling inside. Kaleb Tompkins nailed a shot from beyond the arch and Dartanan Campos-Hodge followed a miss to energize the Crimson Bears on the offensive end.

Defensively JDHS could not hold down Kodiak as six different Bears tallied in the stanza. Alec Canete-Hall scored seven of his game-high 19 points in the quarter and Scott Garcia four of his nine game points to give the visitors a 37-19 margin at the break.

After a bleak eight minutes in the third quarter by both teams the Crimson Bears trailed 44-26 starting the final stanza.

Tompkins began a scoring run to open the fourth quarter and Jones and Campos-Hodge joined in to pull within nine, 46-35. Tompkins then buried a deep shot to close to six with 4:10 remaining.

Guimmayen and Schultz kept up the attack, countering Kodiak scores to stay within 51-43 with 1:17 left to play.

Nathan Klein pulled JDHS within five points as he nailed a deep 3-pointer from in front of the Crimson Bears bench.

JDHS had to foul to stop the clock and Kodiak went 5-10 in the final 28 seconds but the Crimson Bears missed six shots before Guimmayen tallied the final three-point shot from the corner.

Kodiak’s Canete-Hall hit one-of-two free throws to end the game.

Guimmayen led JDHS with 11 points, Jones added 10, Tompkins seven, Schultz, Hodge-Campos and Klein five each, Swofford four and Rahul Chhabria two.

JDHS hit 14-26 at the charity stripe; Kodiak hit 11-23. Ryan Bezona and Scott Garcia added nine points each for Kodiak, Austin Frick and Tyler Canete-Hall six apiece, Levi Fried five and Mangalus three.

JDHS will next host Thunder Mountain (14-7, 4-2) on Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

Friday February 14, 2014
Crosstown showdown - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Just three weeks remain in the Southeast Conference basketball season and each will hold impactful days on the seeding for the Region V tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Mar. 5-8.

Starting this weekend with the Thunder Mountain boys (11-5 overall, 1-1 southeast conference) hosting cross-town rival JDHS (7-9/1-3) and the TMHS girls (11-9/3-1) traveling to Ketchikan (10-5, 1-1), league records will be in flux. The JDHS girls (3-15/0-2) travel to Kayhi on Monday.

“I am expecting an exciting environment,” Thunder Mountain boys coach John Blasco said. “The last four years we have enjoyed the cross town game and the student sections have been very vibrant. We are looking forward to a fun environment and are expecting a very competitive game. We compete hard, and I recognize that with JDHS as well, for 32 minutes. We are going to give it our all individually and as a team. I think we are bigger physically this year than we have been.”

This is the first match up of the season for the two boy’s squads. The Falcons swept all four conference games last season and then the region title game 56-52.

The Falcons are more physical than they were last season and the Crimson Bears, once holding the size advantage, are looking to be more effective with their quickness.

According to JDHS boy’s coach Robert Casperson, a Floyd Dryden Middle School teacher, yesterday’s parent teacher conferences nearly turned into pep rallies.

“Based on the level of interest from the parents that came in to meet with us I am expecting a very big crowd,” Casperson said. “That is my expectation. The series is pretty unique considering Juneau’s long history with basketball in southeast and in Juneau in particular. This goes back to the old Douglas verse Juneau days when there were two high schools. This harkens back to those days, not that everyone now was around or thinks about that history, but this is our contemporary history of that. A lot of people are excited. They have friends and family members on both sides.”

Casperson likes how his team opens a game and realizes it is needed for 32 minutes.

“Our guys get after it,” Casperson said. “It will take our best effort for a full game against Thunder Mountain. The Falcons are very talented and there is a reason they are ranked high in the state and have been all year long. They are good. Our guys are willing and excited for this chance to play and are looking forward to competing.”

For the TMHS and JDHS girls, a trip to Ketchikan is going to shed a lot of light on the region mojo.

“I feel that this weekend’s set of games is extremely important for our team to head into Region V with,” Thunder Mountain girl’s coach Tanya Nizich said. “Not only for getting the bye if we can snag some wins out of this, but just our overall confidence going into the tournament with a couple of wins. It is a known fact that Ketchikan has been big rivals for Juneau in general. They have always had a strong program. It is well known that it is seems a bit tougher of an atmosphere to play in Ketchikan. They have good fan support, a great student section and if you are not ready to have a loud and crazy gym than you are not ready to play. I think that we have proved our point this season that we are a team to not overlook. We have proved that to Southeast definitely and we are slowly starting to be recognized in the state.”

The Falcons were 1-7 in conference last season and JDHS was 7-1, while Kayhi was 4-4. The Lady Kings and Falcons are both relishing the turnaround this season while the Crimson Bears are feeling overlooked.

“I think we can beat them, just like I think we can win a lot of games we did not beat this season,” JDHS girl’s coach Dee Boster said. “Ketchikan is beatable and we have to go thinking that we can beat them. There has always been a rivalry with Kayhi, and before Thunder Mountain it was a pretty fierce one with Ketchikan. It is a tough gym to play in. They are a rowdy crowd with lots of school spirit. I like how we get after it on defense. When we decide to play defense we are a fun team. We are quick and fast. When we are ready to go for it we go for it and are a fun team to watch.”

Starting tonight, local basketball fans will be in for three weeks of gym excitement up and down Egan Drive.

“Naturally it started as a cross town rival but it was the young school trying to prove to the big school that they could compete,” Blasco said. “Now we are a little more established and both teams are trying to compete for bragging rights in the town, in a positive sense. It is something the kids all look forward to because it is the hometown and this is the only time with this environment. We have kind of seen that basketball is the most competitive sport between the two schools at this point. Everybody takes pride in it.”

Added Casperson, “If you can’t get excited about these games as a player or a fan somebody better check you for a pulse.

The Kayhi boys (12-8, 4-2) host TMHS Feb.21-22. The four Juneau programs square off at JDHS on Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

Sunday February 09, 2014
Cougars run past Crimson Bears 78-43 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Service High School boy’s basketball team completed a sweep of the Capital City hoop squads with a 78-43 win over the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears on Saturday at JDHS. The Cougars beat Thunder Mountain on Friday 55-49.

Service’s Pindo Drammeh and Ihro Raguindin scored 19 each in the game and Drammeh blocked 7 shots. JDHS’ Nathan Klein led the Crimson Bears with 13 points.

“Nathan has been playing awesome lately,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “He is stepping up and starting to get more comfortable on the floor. We just ran into a very good ball club tonight.”

First quarter action was limited to ball movement on the perimeter by the Cougars while the Crimson Bears forced the action when they had possession, twice running into the defense of Drammeh in the paint.

JDHS’ Adam Empson and Service’s Ihro Raguindin both scored four points in the 9-8 Crimson Bears lead.

“Service is very disciplined in their attack,” Casperson said. “They showed that in their first possession. We played defense for over a minute and a half. And they kept doing it. We did a great job denying cutters.”

JDHS maintained an aggressive push and took a 15-10 lead in the opening moments of the second period. With 2:48 remaining Service’s Nahshon Fromm hit two free throws for a 25-23 advantage and held on for a 31-27 halftime edge.

“I thought the second half was better than the first,” Service coach Tyler Moor said. “We knew that Juneau likes to run and try to get stuff in transition so we tried to take care of possessions as much as we could.”

Both teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Leading 41-37 the Cougars pressed full court and closed the stanza with a 10-1 run and led 52-38.

“We were able to force some turnovers in the second half,” Moor said. “They missed some shots against our zone and it gave us an opportunity to get out and run off of their misses.”

Service outscored the Crimson Bears 26-3 in the fourth quarter as Drammeh tallied 12 points and 3 blocks in the run. Klein netted the lone 3-point shot for JDHS.

“We were down four at the half and lost by 30,” Casperson said. “The wheels just came off in the second half. They did a good job down here in Juneau both nights in tough environments. They played great and showed why they are beating a lot of quality opponents around the state. They do not make a lot of mistakes.”

Klein led the Crimson Bears with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Adam Empson added 9, Bruce Jones 5, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford, and Stewart Conn 4 each, Dar Hodge-Campos and Rahul Chhabria 2 apiece.

Drammeh and Raguindin scored 19 each for Service, Nahshon Fromm added 9, Brad Wacker, Reece Robinson, and Nathan Ferguson 6 each, Benjamin Biel and Nathan Fromm 5 apiece, Eben Upton and Ronald Hall 2 each.

The Crimson Bears went 8-13 at the charity stripe, the Cougars hit 12-17.

JDHS next plays at Thunder Mountain on Feb. 14-15.

Thursday February 06, 2014
Crimson Bears fall again to Kings, 55-48 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Ketchikan secures conference lead with sweep over JDHS

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team fell just short for the second night in a row against the visiting Ketchikan Kings, losing 55-48 on Wednesday at the JDHS gym.

The Crimson Bears (7-8 overall, 1-3 conference) trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter and closed to within five in the stanza before the Kings’ (11-8), 4-2) stroke at the free throw line carried away the momentum.

“We are just a little hesitant right now,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “We will talk about it and get back in the lab, tweak the formula a little bit and see what comes out. We are disappointed, but I am not discouraged in our guys. They are still competing. There is no quit in them and anytime you have that you have a chance.”

With 2:16 remaining in the game Ketchikan senior Colton Paulsen made two free throws to give the Kings a 48-40 lead.

Crimson Bears junior Bruce Jones made two free throws and classmate Nathan Klein stepped to the line for two more. Klein hit the first to make it a five-point game. His next shot bounced out but junior Adam Empson grabbed the rebound. Empson faked a shot inside and found sophomore Caleb Tompkins outside the three-point line. Tompkins buried the shot to bring JDHS within two at 48-46 with 1:33 remaining.

“I was just hoping I would make it,” Tompkins said. “Because we were behind. I am getting more comfortable with shooting outside.”

The pass and the shot said a lot about the continued improvement of the Crimson Bears.

“We rely on Adam a lot,” Casperson said. “We have to keep building the trust among the team and that was what that play showed. Adam trusts his teammates. We ask a lot of Adam and he takes a lot upon himself. He wants to help us in any way possible. A lot of our guys carry that mentality.”

The Crimson Bears would continue a full court press to look for steals and put the Kings on the line. Ketchikan hit 12 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter, seven by junior Alex Pihl who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the stanza.

JDHS could not mount another score until Empson hit a basket with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

“I have confidence in our team to make their shots,” Empson said. “In practice I see their hard work and it benefits us out on the floor. After these tough loses we know we have worked hard, we just have to keep going on to the next game.”

The game started with a lot more patience than Tuesday’s 73-64 Kayhi win.

JDHS settled in a 2-3 zone while the Kings went man-to-man.

The Crimson Bears had four turnovers in the first quarter, two in their first possessions, while the Kings ran time off the clock and found open looks from outside in to take a 10-9 lead.

The Kayhi pressure limited JDHS to just seven points in the second quarter, thanks in large part by their swarming help defense and steals from Paulsen and Pihl.

“I just try to keep everybody together,” Paulsen said. “I am kind of the defensive anchor, that is what I do is play defense. These wins are pretty big. Every kid in Ketchikan used to dream about coming to Juneau and winning. We are on a good streak right now and we just have to keep getting better.”

Kayhi led 22-16 at the half.

Empson tried to will the Crimson Bears back into the game in the opening moments of the second half, leading a trap and forcing a turnover, finding junior Bruce Jones inside and senior Kevin Guimmayen outside for a 3-point basket. An Empson pass to senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos closed the lead to 29-21.

“Adam is such a dynamic player we tried to focus more on him,” Ketchikan coach Eric Stockhausen said. “They stayed in that zone a lot longer tonight. I think our defensive focus was a lot better. It was a completely different game. I credit Juneau. It was a really good high school basketball game. I though both sides were rally aggressive and it was a physical game. I am proud of our kids and we are thankful to get a conference victory.”

The Kings were quick but not in a hurry on offense. While the Crimson Bears swarmed on defense the Kings were able to move the ball around the perimeter.

“We were really focused on seeing the whole floor,” Stockhausen said. “Juneau comes at you from so many angles and mixes up the defenses. I thought our court awareness was better tonight. You can’t duplicate the Juneau pressure in practice so I thought we really showed composure at the end. Hopefully this gives us momentum to push for the conference lead against Thunder Mountain (11-4, 1-1).”

The Kings ran off a string of free throws by Paulsen and senior Isaiah Navales to again regain composure and junior Ned Day added a basket for an 11-point advantage at 35-24 with 2:34 remaining in the stanza.

JDHS’ Jones sandwiched his third and fourth fouls around two made free throws to close out the third quarter trailing 35-26.

Empson found a steal and a basket in the opening moments of the fourth quarter to start the Crimson Bears into a slow crawl for contention but Pihl answered with a pair of free throws to force a time out.

Jones would foul out with 1:45 remaining in the game and setting the stage for Empson to secure the rebound that led to Tompkins triple.

“We are certainly at a point where we need to start making plays and not excuses,” Casperson said. “Ketchikan plays really hard, they are disciplined and they want the ball. They outworked us this weekend. We will have to be better prepared when Service steps in here on Saturday. They have been giving teams up north problems.”

The Crimson Bears host the Service Cougars on Saturday at 8 p.m. The Cougars play at Thunder Mountain on Friday at 8 p.m.

Empson and Jones led the Crimson Bears with 13 points each, Hodge-Campos and Klein five each, Treyson Ramos, Guimmayen, Tompkins and Bryce Swofford three apiece.

JDHS went 14-20 at the charity stripe; Kayhi 19-27.

Navales added 14 points for the Kings, Mo Bullock eight, Paulsen seven, Day six and Matt Standley two.

Game Stats:

JDHS- Empson- 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 6-8 fg’s, 0-2 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Jones- 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3-7 fg’s, 7-8 ft’s; Klein- 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2-6 fg’s, 1-2 ft’s, 0-2 3’s; Hodge Campos- 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1-5 fg’s, 2-2 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Ramos- 3 points, 1 rebound, 0-2 fg’s, 3-4 fg’s, 0-1 3’s; Guimmayen- 3 points, 1 assist, 1-2 fg’s, 1-1 3’s.

KHS- Pihl- 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 5-7 fg’s, 10-12 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Naveles- 12 points, 3-10 fg’s, 5-7 ft’s, 1-8 3’s; Bullock- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-7 fg’s; Almenzor- 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1-2 fg’s, 1-2 ft’s; Paulsen- 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1-2 fg’s, 4-4 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Day- 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3-3 fg’s, 0-2 ft’s.

Wednesday February 05, 2014
Ketchikan Kings run spoils Crimson Bears Southeast catch - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Ketchikan Kings broke a three-way tie atop the Southeast Conference with a 73-64 win over the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears at home on Tuesday night.

Kayhi (10-8, 3-2), JDHS (7-7, 1-2) and Thunder Mountain (11-4, 1-1) were in a mid-season bottleneck for the top seed.

“Ketchikan controlled the tempo,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “They played a heck of a game and executed exactly what they needed to do to be successful. They were the aggressor and thus the victor.”

The Kings pressured full court, took care of the ball on offense, made layups and hit 20-26 from the free throw line, while the Crimson Bears found some inside looks at the hoop early and turned the ball over a season-low four times in the first half, which led to a one tie and two lead changes in the first quarter.

The Kings went up 15-14 with three minutes remaining in the first period and never trailed again in the game.

Six different Crimson Bears found the hoop in the first quarter and junior Gunnar Schultz’s jump shot at the buzzer pulled JDHS within five points, 23-18.

“These kids are working hard for us every day in practice and they deserve to play in a game when it matters,” Casperson said. “They have an impact in the outcome of the game if they get to play in the first half. The rotation definitely shortens up in second half, we try to go with guys who seem a little more ready.”

The hot shooting by both clubs continued in the second quarter with JDHS tying the score at 25-25 on a 3-pointer by Maake and back-to-back baskets by sophomore Treyson Ramos.

“Treyson played his heart out,” Casperson said. “He has been working hard in practice and it led to some game success for him.”

Ketchikan regained control with baskets by junior Alex Pihl and Mo Bullock, who hit eight of his team-high 19 points in the period.

“Alex is a special player,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said. “He has really put in time in the off season, played a ton of basketball, and he usually comes to the gym early, stays late and to see him stand out in big conference game is nice to see.”

The Crimson Bears pulled to within three points on a basket by junior Bruce Jones at the 3:25 mark and Schultz pulled them within four again at the 2:53 mark. Both times the Kings responded and a JDHS air ball led to a Kayhi’s fast break basket and sparked a 6-3 run to end the half with the visitors up 40-33.

An 11-0 run by the Kings starting the third quarter, including four turnovers in the first two minutes of that stanza, gave a momentum boost to the Kayhi team. JDHS had five of their first eight possessions lead to baskets by the Kings.

“We were counting our blessings too early,” Casperson said. “At halftime we noticed we only had five or six turnovers, so we were feeling pretty good about the position we were in. To come out the way we did in that third quarter killed our momentum.”

The Crimson Bears scored just seven points in the third quarter while the Kings tallied 15 to take a 55-40 lead heading into the final stanza.

A 9-4 run to start the fourth quarter switched momentum to the home team. A Ramos triple at the 4:36 mark cut the lead to 59-50 and included senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos drawing a flagrant foul on the shot under the basket. Hodge-Campos would hit both free throws to close within seven.

Empson then scored on a drive to make it a five-point game, 59-54, with 4:05 remaining.

Kayhi’s Bullock answered with a bucket inside and Pihl added a basket and a foul shot to answer JDHS junior Nathan Klein’s put back.

Trading baskets down the stretch the Crimson Bears pulled to within five, 67-62, on Kaleb Tompkins shot with 25 seconds remaining.

After a Kayhi free throw by Isaiah Navales, Empson closed the score to four points with JDHS’ final hoop and 15.3 seconds remaining.

The Kings got four straight free throws, two each from Navales and Pihl to close out the game.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 19 points, Ramos added nine, Jones seven, Hodge-Campos six, Schultz five, Rahul Chhabria and Klein four each, Maake, Tompkins and Stewart Conn three each and Bryce Swofford one.

JDHS hit 13-25 at the charity stripe; Kayhi went 20-26.

Navales added 16 points for the Kings, Pihl 14, Colton Paulsen 10, Omar Mendoza six, Malik Almenzor and Ned Day four apiece.

“Any conference win in Juneau is a good one for our kids,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said. “We would have liked to play more consistently at the end but give coach Casperson and the Crimson Bears credit, they have never quit all year long and that makes them tough.”

The two teams square off again tonight at 7 p.m. (JV 5:15, C 3:30). On Friday the Thunder Mountain Falcons will host the Service Cougars at 8 p.m. On Saturday the Cougars will play at JDHS at 8 p.m.

Game Stats:

JDHS- Adam Empson- 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 7-14 fg’s, 5-7 ft’s, 0-2 3’s; Treyson Ramos- 9 points, 3 assists, 4-5 fg’s, 0-1 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Bruce Jones- 8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-5 fg’s, 0-6 ft’s; Dar Hodge-Campos- 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1-2 fg’s, 4-4 ft’s; Gunnar Schultz- 5 points, 2-7 fg’s, 1-3 3’s; Nathan Klein- 4 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1-2 fg’s, 2-4 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Stewart Conn- 3 points, 1-1 3’s; Manase Ma’ake- 3 points, 1-1 3’s; Rahul Chhabria- 4 points, 1 assist, 2-6 fg’s; Bryce Swofford- 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1-2 ft’s.

KHS- Isaiah Naveles- 16 points, 1 rebound, 5-10 fg’s, 5-6 ft’s, 1-3 3’s; Alex Pihl- 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4-7 fg’s, 6-6 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Mo Bullock- 19 points, 12 rebounds, 8-12 fg’s, 3-4 ft’s; Colton Paulsen- 10 points, 3 rebounds, 4-4 fg’s, 2-3 ft’s; Omar Mendoza- 6 points, 2 rebounds 2-3 fg’s, 2-2 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Malik Almenzor- 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-4 fg’s; Ned Day- 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-4 fg’s.

Friday January 31, 2014
Bears in Action Against Ketchikan This Weekend - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     “We are certainly looking forward to moving in the right direction,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “We want to see if we have made any corrections and improvements since the last time we played them and since our road trip. These games will help decide the pecking order in Southeast and our guys are looking forward to it. Each time out is an opportunity to find out if we have improved the chinks in our armor, so to speak.”

The JDHS road trip went 1-3 with losses to Lathrop (75-62), Monroe (79-42) and Kodiak (78-55), with the sole win against West Valley, 83-82. The Crimson Bears also topped Chugiak last week at home.

“We are all in first or we are all in last right now,” Casperson said. “It is wide open right now. Everyone tagged us for third in the preseason and we are comfortable with that. We don’t mind being an underdog. These are big games. We are looking up at our final opponents.”

Casperson said the northern road trip featured quality opponents and learning opportunities.

“We are certainly trying to play faster than we ever have before,” Casperson said. “Sometimes we turn the ball over more than we need to. We need to rebound better. I think just learning a new system and learning to execute it, on the outside may look chaotic, but on the floor the guys are starting to know what to do. Offensively we are running our sets better, defensively we are rotating better in the full court with our pressure and we have to get better in the half court.”

The Crimson Bears graduated nine players and had averaged 40-plus points last season. This season only junior Adam Empson is averaging double figures in scoring.

“We are up to 60-something this season,” Casperson said. “I am proud of our guys. They have responded. The group of guys we have cherish the opportunity to come out and prove themselves. We are playing a lot of guys and they are making the most of the time they get on the floor.”

The JDHS boys end the season with games against Service, TMHS, Kodiak and TMHS again.

Friday January 24, 2014
Crimson Bears outpace Chugiak - Juneau Empire by Matt Woolbright
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team outpaced the visiting Chugiak Mustangs 72-59 at home Thursday night.

Junior Adam Empson scored seven of his game-high 24 points and recorded a steal during a 15-5 Crimson Bears run to open the second half and break the game open.

“It was a good team effort,” Empson said. “We didn’t come out as aggressive as we would have liked, but we did better to start the second and put in work.”

Four three-pointers from Juneau-Douglas shooters in the third quarter and seven unanswered points from Junior Jacob Thibodeau early in the fourth quarter helped the Crimson Bears put the game out of reach midway through the final period.

“As always, Adam (Empson) really brought a calming presence and took care of the ball,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “Nathan (Klein) carried us on the glass with his aggressiveness, and Jacob (Thibodeau) had his best game of the year.”

Still, turnovers were frequent occurrences for both teams from the opening tip to the final minutes of the game.

“I’m frustrated with the amount of turnovers we keep having at this point in the year. We’ve got to take better care of the ball,” Casperson said.

Full-court pressure from both teams forced five turnovers in the first couple minutes of play.

Juneau-Douglas shooters got hot from mid-range, prompting Chugiak to move to a 3-2 defensive zone.

A late scoring rally by Chugiak pulled the Mustangs to within two of the Crimson Bears at the end of the first period.

The Crimson Bears extended their lead in the second thanks to fewer turnovers and multiple key Chugiak players, including leading scorer Matt Oldenkamp, getting into early foul trouble.

Alex Hess was a spark off the bench for Chugiak, scoring nine and forcing several Crimson Bear turnovers.

Tighter defense in the paint by the Crimson Bears forced Chugiak into more jump shots, which helped hold the Mustangs to 13 points in the quarter — their lowest output of the night.

The Crimson Bears took a 34-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Juneau-Douglas’ 15-5 run spurred largely by Empson pushed the six-point lead to 16 in the early minutes of the third quarter — a lead that turned out to be insurmountable for the visitors, who will play a two-game series with Thunder Mountain High School Friday and Saturday.

Turnovers continued to be a common trend for both teams throughout the quarter with the Mustangs chipping away at the Crimson Bears’ lead after the home team’s early run.

Hess picked up his third foul halfway through the quarter and Juneau-Douglas carried a 10 point lead into the final period of play.

Oldenkamp fouled out for Chugiak with 2:32 left in the game with the Crimson Bears up 17.

Casperson praised his team after the game for “exceeding everyone’s expectations except their own” thus far in the season.

“We’re absolutely where we want to be at this point in the season given our schedule,” he said.

Behind Empson’s 24 points were: Gunnar Schultz, 11; Thibodeau, 7; Rahul Chhabria, 6; Kaleb Tompkins, 5; Nathan Klein, 4; Kevin Guimmayen, 4; Bryce Swofford, 4; Manase Maake, 3; Dar Hodge-Campos, 3; and Bruce Jones, 1.

Sunday January 19, 2014
JD Boys 55, Kodiak78 - Juneau Empire by Charles Westmoreland and Klas Stolpe
     Kodiak rode the hot hand of 3-point marksman Austin Frick to defeat the Juneau-Douglas boys team 78-55 on Saturday in Fairbanks.

Frick’s dropped seven three points on the night on his way to a game-high 31 points.

“Austin Frick shot the lights out,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said. “We didn’t defend him as well as we wanted to. We’ll have to do better when they come down to Juneau.”

The Crimson Bears will face Kodiak again Feb. 21-22 during homecoming.

Both teams started hot leading to a 24-20 Kodiak advantage after the first quarter. Juneau’s Adam Empson scored seven of his team-high 19 points in the quarter.

“It was a solid performance by Adam, who was trying to keep us in the game,” Casperson said. From there the pace slowed for both sides, though not by much, with Kodiak still leading 42-34 at the half.

Casperson said his team struggled to match Kodiak’s intensified as the game wore on.

The Kodiak Bears pushed their lead farther ahead in the third quarter behind a couple of Frick threes. Ten of his 15 second-half points came in the third quarter.

The Bears were able to penetrate Juneau’s defense and then kick the ball out to perimeter shooters left open. And even was Frick was closely guarded he still managed to get his shots to go in.

“He’s got a pretty quick trigger,” Casperson said.

The Crimson Bears switched up its defensive scheme in the second half but it “didn’t make a difference.”

“I don’t know what happened to us in the second half,” Casperson said.

The fourth quarter of action was more of the same, with Kodiak outscoring the Crimson Bears 17-10.

Casperson said he team took away valuable experience from the tournament, playing three tough opponents in three nights.

“It’s great competition, three quality teams, three top opponents,” he said. “That’s three great opportunities for us to play top teams.”

Casperson said his team has made progress in several areas, particularly blocking out and rebounding.

“We’ve gotten better at blocking out and rebounding,” he said. “We get our hands on the ball first, a lot, but we don’t always come away with it, so we have to keep working on that."

“I liked our rebounding and how we moved the ball quickly on offense. That’s when we looked our sharpest.”

He said the Crimson Bears also need to continue improving on defense and taking care of the ball.

“In the third quarter of all three games we missed shots and turned the ball over, and that’s a tough combination to come back from.”

All 13 of Juneau’s varsity players traveled north for the tournament, allowing some of the younger, less experienced players to get quality minutes.

“Some of our younger guys got some good minutes,” Casperson said. “Everyone’s playing, everyone’s contributing, we just need to make sure we’re improving as season progresses.

Empson led JDHS with 19 points, followed by Bruce Jones, 9; Kaleb Tompkins, 6; Nathan Klein, 3; and two apiece by Manase Maake, Treyson Ramos, Kevin Guimmayen, Rahul Chhabria and Bryce Swofford.

Junior Adam Empson was selected to the all-tournament team for the Crimson Bears.

Leading Kodiak behind Frick’s 31 points were Josh Bezona, 15; Alec Hall, 13; and Scott Garcia, 7.

Juneau will next face Chugiak on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at home.

Saturday January 18, 2014
Monroe Rams top Crimson Bears - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The 3A Monroe boys continue to be the class of any division in the state as they scored 52 points in the first half and easily beat the Crimson Bears 79-42.

Scooter Bynum scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to help the Rams build the lead. Bynum did not play during the fourth quarter.

David Stepovich added 15 points in the first half and finished with 19 points on the night.

Kaleb Tompkins led the Crimson Bears with nine points, Stewart Conn added eight, Bruce Jones six, Treyson Ramos, Dartanan Hodge-Campos and Jacob Thibodeau four each, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford and Nathan Klein two each and Rahul Chhabria one.

JDHS hit 4-6 at the line; Monroe 9-12.

Friday January 17, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall 75-62 to Malemutes - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team lost to Lathrop 75-61 in their opening game at the Joe T Classic in Fairbanks on Thursday.

The Falcons gave up two quarters of 26 points, the first and the third, and both resulted in momentum for the Malemutes.

“You can’t give up that many points in one quarter, let alone two,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Most teams score that in a game and we gave them 52 in two quarters.”

The game began with a cold shooting JDHS squad.

Three early Crimson Bears misses led to four Malemutes fast-break points in the first minute of play.

Lathrop opened with a man-to-man full court defense and forced a five-man substitution by JDHS, who trailed 10-0 at the five-minute mark.

Kaleb Tompkins stemmed the scoring drought with a triple to break the ice for Juneau and would add another in the stanza to keep the Crimson Bears close at 26-15.

Lathrop buried a triple to open a 29-15 advantage starting the second quarter and JDHS went to a physical game inside.

Nathan Klein completed a three-point play to bring the Crimson Bears within eight, 35-27, with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.

Bruce Jones followed with his third block of the game and a trapping two-three zone seemed to briefly stifle the Malemutes.

“We were switching in and out of different defenses,” Casperson said. “I am really proud with how our guys kept competing and working their way back into the game. We were pressuring and running different substitutions in and out of the line up.”

A steal and a score by Tompkins cut the lead to 35-33 with under a minute left and Adam Empson tied the score. Lathrop would hit a tip in at the buzzer to lead 37-35 at the break.

The Crimson Bears were flat in the third, scoring just 10 points and committing that many turnovers while the Malemutes put up another 26-point stanza.

Lathrop had three starters with three fouls in the first half but the JDHS offense couldn’t draw them into trouble in the second half.

“If the game were just the second and fourth quarters we would be fine,” Casperson said. “We moved the ball really well tonight. We made an effort to get back into the contest.”

Lathrop led 63-45 starting the final stanza and the Crimson Bears closed to within eight early in the fourth but expended too much energy to keep the comeback in sight.

Klein had his best game of the season for JDHS, scoring 13 points, getting eight rebounds and “getting after the Lathrop big men” according to Casperson.

Tompkins added 10 points, Bruce Jones nine, Adam Empson eight, Gunnar Schultz seven, Rahul Chhabria six, Kevin Guimmayen four, Dartanan Hodge-Campos three and Stewart Conn one.

JDHS hit 12-21 at the charity stripe; Lathrop went 13-21.

The Malemutes’ Jennis tallied 17 points, Berner 16, Ford 14, Jordan five, White four, Meadows and Cannon two each and Maiden one.

The Crimson Bears play Monroe today (4:30 p.m.) and Kodiak on Saturday (4:30 p.m.).

“We are up here for opportunities and experience,” Casperson said. “And these three games will do that.”

Thursday January 16, 2014
JDHS boys top West Valley 83-82 in O.T. - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     And One!

Juneau-Douglas High School senior Adam Empson did one of the crazy street ball moves against West Valley on Wednesday night in Fairbanks, throwing the inbounds pass off the back of a defender, stepping in to receive the carom, and laying it up for the basket to win the game in overtime.

“Just like I drew it up,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson joked. “It was a great heads up play by Adam. We were looking to screen the screener and he just made a great read.”

The Wolfpack started the game with a technical for not having their roster in to the scorer’s table and JDHS senior Gunnar Schultz made one-of-two from the charity stripe for the lead with no time off the clock.

The Crimson Bears led 15-11 after one quarter as Schultz, Bruce Jones, Kaleb Tompkins, Adam Empson, Stewart Conn and Nathan Klein all found the basket for a balanced attack.

JDHS led 35-29 at the half as senior Kevin Guimmayen found the deep triple twice and Jones battled inside for eight more points.

West Valley went deep in the third quarter, burying five 3-pointers and outscoring JDHS 28-18. Wolfpack sophomore Daniel Hornbuckle three of the deep shots and hit seven total as he led with a game-high 35 points.

Hornbuckle would connect for 14 points in the fourth quarter while the Crimson Bears Empson and Jones tallied nine and seven points respectively.

West Valley missed an inside shot and a put back in the final seconds and JDHS ran the court for a final shot that missed.

Empson and Jones carried the overtime with four points apiece and the Crimson Bears defense stifled Hornbuckle to claim the 83-82 win.

“That is our pace to be up in the eighties,” Casperson said. “We want to attack and score. We are running guys in and out, everybody is playing and they are having fun.”

Jones led the Crimson Bears with 21, Empson and Schultz had 18 each, Guimmayen 11, Rahul Chhabria five, Klein three, Thibodeau, Conn and Tompkins two each and Dartanan Hodge-Campos one.

Charles Sudduth added 17 points for the Wolfpack, Sean Kinsey seven, Travon Brackett six, Jordan Rodenberger five, Daniel Remington, Titus Milk, and Tahj Washington four each.

Sunday January 05, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall to Kayhi 64-48 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team fell at Ketchikan on Saturday 64-48, after the Kings caught fire and scored 25 points in the fourth quarter.

“The game was pretty sloppy up until the fourth quarter,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Their pressure got us out of sync and we had a lot of turnovers.”

The Crimson Bears (5-3) led 19-17 after one quarter and 29-25 at the half, scoring the last six points before the break. The outside shooting of Kevin Guimmayen, who tallied three triples in the game, was key for JDHS.

JDHS had nine turnovers in the third quarter, giving Ketchikan a chance to take the lead 39-36 with the final eight minutes to play.

“They came out with a fire we couldn’t match in the fourth quarter,” Casperson said. “They took it to us. They took us into trapping areas and executed their defense quite well.”

The Kings’ Mo Bullock scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the final stanza, and all of Kayhi’s points in a 13-5 run that turned the game around.

“This is a really tough place to play,” Casperson said. “Being able to split down here is a good start for us with this group.”

In Friday’s game JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit two free throws with 9 seconds remaining to hold off the Kings 55-52 in the Southeast Conference opener for both clubs. The Kings’ Alex Pihl missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

JDHS will have the weekend off before heading on the road to West Valley on Jan. 15 and to the Lathrop tournament Jan. 16-18.

Tuesday December 31, 2013
Lynx bite Crimson Bears 54-51 for Capital City Classic championship - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     JDHS junior Adam Empson scores game-high 17 points in loss

Dimond High School junior Muhamad Cole took a rebound pass at half court from teammate Isaiah Pili and dribbled in for a layup with 7.9 seconds remaining as the Lynx defeated the Crimson Bears 54-51 in the boys’ championship game of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Monday night.

JDHS junior Adam Empson scored a game-high 17 points.

“He was voted as a captain by his teammates and he is willing to shoulder the role of leadership,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Adam stepped up and kept us in the game. He asserted himself offensively.”

A turnover by the Crimson Bears resulted in Cole going to the free throw line and hitting one of two shots for the three-point advantage. JDHS did not get another look at the basket.

Empson hit two free throws to tie the score at 51 with 2:24 remaining and Dimond spread the floor.

JDHS junior Bruce Jones blocked a shot with 57.5 seconds remaining and drew an offensive foul on Cole 20 seconds later but the Crimson Bears failed to score and the rebound was tipped out to Cole.

The Crimson Bears had 10 turnovers in the first quarter.

“We are playing a lot of guys and we are pretty young and inexperienced,” Casperson said. “There are going to be some growing pains. We are playing a style that lends itself to having turnovers now and then, that is something I have to accept.”

Dimond shot 9-26 in the first half and had 11 turnovers while JDHS gave up the ball 14 times, hit 9-25 from the field and led at the half 26-25.

JDHS scored the first bucket of the third quarter with two minutes gone as the Dimond press forced four turnovers on the Crimson Bears.

Jones recorded his third block of the game with four minutes remaining in the period and the score tied at 29.

The lead would change five times until the Lynx held a 43-41 advantage with eight minutes to play.

JDHS senior Kevin Guimmayen hit a 3-pointer to give the Crimson Bears the 44-43 advantage at 7:04 of the fourth quarter but Cole hit a free throw to tie the score on Jones’ third foul and Josh Fosse scored to put Dimond up three.

Empson pulled JDHS within a point on a driving bucket and Cole answered for the Lynx from the charity stripe.

Dimond’s Carlos Diaz scored inside to give the Lynx a four-point advantage at 51-47 and Empson rebounded his own miss, tipping the ball to senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos for a bucket. Empson then hit two free throws to tie the score at 51.

Stewart Conn added seven points for the Crimson Bears, Guimmayen and Kale Tompkins six apiece, Bruce Jones four, Gunnar Schultz, Hodge-Campos and Rahul Chhabria three each and Bryce Swofford two.

Cole led the Lynx with 14 points, Fosi added 10, Austin Osborne eight, Zach Deloney seven, Carlos Diaz and Mason Merchant four apiece, Pili three and Rafa Zavala and John Paul Moran two each.

JDHS went 8-18 at the charity stripe; Dimond hit 11-20.

“Dimond started attacking us and we did not respond very well to the pressure,” Casperson said. “We learned that we have to understand how to operate under pressure. It is still early. I am proud of how we work together. They don’t bicker, everyone is playing and they are all buying in to it. The guys were really disappointed and they wanted to win it.”

Sunday December 29, 2013
Crimson Bears out-box Patriots 79-51 in Capital City Classic - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Teams total 31 first-half fouls, 29 more after the break

The old adage of going to a fight and a hockey game breaks out was changed to a bruising mixed metaphor of basketball, football and full-speed rugby as the Juneau-Douglas and North Pole boys’ basketball teams committed 31 first-half fouls and 60 for the game in a 79-51 Crimson Bears win over the Patriots in the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Saturday night.

“I knew it was going to be a physical game, and it certainly was,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “I know we got a lot of free throws and I know they shot plenty of them, too.”

North Pole picked up three fouls in the first minute of action and both teams had one turnover with no points.

With 5:27 remaining in the first quarter, the Patriots had their seventh foul and led 6-4.

JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins dribbled the length of the floor to tie the score and freshman Stewart Conn gave the Crimson Bears the lead on a jumper seconds later.

The 20th foul of the game came with just under a minute remaining in the first period and senior Adam Empson hit one of two free throws and Tompkins another basket to take a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.

The sixth foul of the second quarter came with just over four minutes remaining and North Pole senior Khalil Steward used the whistle to tie the score at 26 and then take a one-point advantage. Steward then hit a basket and was fouled to put the Patriots up 30-26. The 11th foul of the period came with one minute remaining and Empson canned both the front and back of the one-and-one to close within six, 36-30. After a Patriots’ turnover, Empson netted a jump shot to close within four at the half.

JDHS committed two fouls in the first 20 seconds of the third period and another just 30 seconds later, but North Pole had three turnovers and couldn’t capitalize.

Empson scored and was fouled to tie the game at 36 and then give the Crimson Bears the one-point advantage.

“The team helped me keep my composure,” Empson said. “My team pumped me up, the crowd, everyone… I was just thinking make it, just make it. Both teams were focusing on competing.”

Empson would score 17 of his game-high 29 points in the quarter and push the Crimson Bears to a 55-40 advantage with the final eight minutes remaining.

North Pole used the 14th foul of the second half to score a free-throw but JDHS used the 15th to do the same and the back-and-forth continued with the Crimson Bears having the better corner and taking a 66-46 lead with Bryce Swofford making both ends of the 20th whistle.

The Crimson Bears scored the last four points of the game as Rahul Chhabria hit the front and back of the 29th whistle and Manase Maake scored inside.

“There were a lot of fouls,” Casperson said. “You can’t fault the officials. Kids were playing hard and everybody was making plays on the ball. It was just a very physical game.”

Kevin Guimmayen added nine points for the Crimson Bears, Tompkins, Chhabria and Conn six, Bruce Jones five, and Maake, Gunnar Schultz and Swofford four each, Dorian Isaak three, Jacob Thibodeau two and Nathan Klein one.

The Patriots’ Lance Wright and Steward had 12 points apiece, Garrett Sommer 11, Jordan Schuster six, Deandre Campbell five, Jordan Copeland four, and Simi Skipps one.

JDHS went 27-42 at the charity stripe; North Pole hit 17-30.

Sunday action features shooting contests (free throw, three-point, dunk) beginning at 1 p.m. and game play resumes on Monday with Cordova against North Pole at 3 p.m. and JDHS playing Dimond at 7 p.m.


In other Saturday boy’s action on Saturday the Dimond Lynx defeated the Cordova Wolverines 57-31 behind 15 points from Muhamad Cole and eight triples from beyond the arch.

Dimond led 19-11 starting the second quarter and held the Wolverines to just four points to take a 37-15 halftime advantage.

The Lynx led 43-24 starting the final quarter.

Zach Deloney added eight points for Dimond, Mason Merchant seven, Josh Fosi and Isaiah Pili five apiece, Carlos Diaz, Austin Osborne and Ryan Faulao four each, Rafa Zavala three, and John Paul Moran two.

Eli Beedle led Cordova with 11 points, Andrew Muma added nine, Spenser Plant five, Austin Brandt three, and Billy Perry, Cooper Jewell, and Chatham Warga one each.

The Lynx hit 10-16 at the line; the Wolverines went 6-12.

Saturday December 28, 2013
Capital City Classic Day 1 Results - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     JDHS 65, CORDOVA 41

The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team pressed their way to a 65-41 win over the Cordova Wolverines in late Friday action at the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.

Cordova, whose plane landed in Juneau shortly before the schedule tipoff, registered six turnovers against the Crimson Bears pressure in the first quarter alone and 17 for the game.

JDHS broke open a 5-4 lead with a 16-2 run that ended the period with the Crimson Bears up 21-6. Two quick fouls on Cordova big man Eli Beedle put the all-star center on the bench for the remainder of the first half.

JDHS increased their lead to 36-12 at the half and 10 different Crimson Bears found the scorebook.

JDHS senior Adam Empson hit six points and Stewart Conn and Dorian Isaak sank back-to-back threes to power the Crimson Bears to a 54-29 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 13 points, Isaak added eight, Kevin Guimmayen and Rahul Chhabria seven apiece, Bruce Jones six, Kaleb Tompkins and Stewart Conn five apiece, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford and Nathan Klein four each, and Dar Hodge-Campos two.

Beedle led the Wolverines with 15 points, all in the second half; Billy Perry added 10, Jerome Ridao five, Cooper Jewell four, Austin Brandt and Andrew Muma three apiece and Spenser Plant one.

JDHS went 7-9 at the charity stripe and committed 20 fouls; Cordova hit 9-22 at the line and totaled 12 fouls.


The Dimond High School Lynx opened a 17-3 first quarter advantage over the North Pole Patriots and were never seriously threatened as they secured a 59-40 win in the opening boys’ game of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Friday in Juneau.

The Lynx hit three from beyond the arch in the opening stanza (seven for the game) to draw the defense out and fed junior Carlos Diaz inside for four points.

Lynx senior Zach Deloney scored 10 of his game-high 26 points in the second period and junior Isaiah Pili hit a triple at the buzzer for a 34-14 halftime advantage.

The Patriots made a run in the third quarter, scoring 14 points behind sophomore Ryan DeLaurie and junior Jordan Schuster to pull within 42-28 starting the final period.

Dimond scored their third 17-point quarter total of the game in the final period behind nine points from Deloney to coast to the win as Dimond’s Pili and classmate Muhamad Cole controlled the backcourt under the pressing Patriot defense from junior DeAundre Campbell, seniors Khalil Steward, Jordan Copeland and sophomore Garrett Sommer.

Diaz added eight points for the Lynx, Pili and Cole seven apiece, Josh Fosi five and Mason Merchant, John Paul Moran and Austin Osborne two each.

DeLaurie came off the bench to lead the Patriots with 13 points, Schuster and Steward added eight apiece, Sommer six, Campbell three and Simi Skipps two.

Dimond hit 10-18 at the charity stripe; North Pole went 9-21.

Sunday December 22, 2013
Crimson Bears boys top Kardinals - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team closed out the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament at Soldotna High School with their second win, topping Kenai 69-62 on Saturday.

The Crimson Bears had beaten Southeast 3A power Mt. Edgecumbe 56-50 on Friday.

On Saturday senior Gunnar Schultz hit nine of his game-high 23 points in the first period to keep the Crimson Bears within six points at 20-14 starting the second stanza.

“The way we are playing provides opportunities for guys to get open looks,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “(Schultz) was ready to knock them down and took advantage of the shots.”

Six different Crimson Bears found the basket in the second quarter as JDHS used an 18-11 period to take a 32-31 lead at the break.

Junior Adam Empson scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter to help push the Crimson Bears up by nine starting the final period.

The Crimson Bears pressed the majority of the game and junior Bruce Jones had two blocks in the final quarter.

“Bruce is working hard at being a defensive presence,” Casperson said. “He is covering up any mistakes our guards make.”

Freshman Bryce Swofford added six points for JDHS, senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos, Jones and sophomore Kaleb Tompkins added five points apiece, freshman Stewart Conn added four, senior Kevin Guimmayen had three, senior Rahul Chhabria and junior Jacob Thibodeau contributed two each.

Trevor Shirnberg led Kenai with 20 points, Josh Jackman 19, Austin McKee 10, Tanner Wortham four, Keith Ivy and Kyle Foree three, Guillermo Seppulveda two and Vlad Glushkov one.

JDHS hit 12-19 at the line, Kenai went 11-18.

“We are going to try and push the pace,” Casperson said. “Defensively we are learning and getting better. The three teams we played here each approached our pressure three different ways, so it gave us a great opportunity to figure out how to react and respond. Considering the youth and inexperience of this group, I am pleased at how they stepped up. We will probably have a different leading scorer each night. We have no selfishness going on.”

Saturday December 21, 2013
Crimson Bears rebound with win at Soldotna tourney - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Juneau holds off familiar foe Mt. Edgecumbe 56-50.

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team showed what a rested Crimson Bears team can do with a 56-50 win over Southeast 3A power Mt. Edgecumbe on Friday at the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament at Soldotna High School.

"They are a very good team," Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. "They would not go away." Freshman Stuart Conn hit a three-pointer to give the Crimson Bears an 11-10 lead in the first quarter and a steal added two more as Juneau took a 15-10 advantage.

Juneau upped the offensive pressure to take a 33-22 lead into the break. The Crimson Bears maintained a 10-point advantage for over six minutes in the stanza.

Junior Bruce Jones picked up his third foul minutes after play resumed in the second half with the Crimson Bears up 38-29, but stayed in the game to frustrate the Braves and keep a 47-38 advantage into the final eight minutes.

The Crimson Bears spread the floor down the stretch.

JDHS held off a late rally by the Braves and advance to play Kenai in the fifth-place game on Saturday.

Casperson credited Freshman Bryce Swofford for drawing four offensive fouls on Mt. Edgecumbe.

Senior Rahul Chhabria led the Crimson Bears with 12 points and junior Adam Empson added nine. Senior Kevin Guimmayen and juniors Gunnar Schultz and Bruce Jones scored seven apiece, senior Dar Hodge Campos five, sophomore Kaleb Tompkins four, Conn three and Swofford two.

Mt. Edgecumbe got 18 points from Sky Shipton, 11 from Jalone Pepper, Donald Edenshaw scored five, Paul Kewan and Corby Kasagalie five apiece, and Jarred Olin-Duncan four.

"Guys are making the most of their opportunities when they get on the floor," Casperson said. "We have some work a head of us and the kids are excited."

JDHS had lost to Soldotna 72-60 on Thursday while Ketchikan topped Kenai 59-26 and Bethel won over Mt. Edgecumbe 54-46.

Friday December 20, 2013
Crimson Bears boys fall to Soldotna 72-60: Pennisula Clarion
     The Soldotna boys basketball team defeated Juneau-Douglas 72-60 in the first round of the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament on Thursday at Soldotna High School.

The Stars were the only area squad to pick up a first-round win. Ketchikan defeated Kenai 59-26 and Colony defeated Nikiski 72-45, with Damien Fulp leading Colony with 23 points and Seth Carstens pouring in 27 for the Bulldogs. In other action, Bethel topped Mt. Edgecumbe 54-46.

Juneau had a long day of travel to get to the night game on time, and there were times during the day where there were questions if the Crimson Bears would make it for the 8:45 p.m. tip. When Juneau got there, Soldotna was able to take control of the game in the first quarter. The Stars stretched out the lead in the third quarter before Juneau mounted a late comeback in the fourth quarter.

Daniel McElroy paced the Stars with 16 points, while Austin Kruse had 12 points and Nathan Spence had 11 points.

In the semifinals of the tournament today, Ketchikan and Colony play at 6:30 p.m., and SoHi and Bethel play at 8:15 p.m.

In the fifth-place bracket, Kenai and Nikiski play at 5:15 p.m., while Mt. Edgecumbe and Juneau play at 4:45 p.m.

Saturday, the title game is at 4:15 p.m., the third-place game is at 2:30 p.m., the fifth-place game is at 12:45 p.m. and the seventh-place game is at 11 a.m.

Thursday December 19, 2013
Crimson Bears will court inexperience through the season - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Juneau-Douglas graduated a roster of talented athletes who are pursuing college sports; Phillip Fenumiai (football), Aquino Brinson (basketball), Jeffrey Pusich (baseball), Keith Ainsworth (basketball), Jackson Lehnhart (soccer), as well as Ben Williams and Gary Speck.

That is a lot of muscle to replace and the Crimson Bears will take some lumps until they take root on the hardwood.

“We have certainly spent some time in the weight room,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “But I don’t think we are going to win any games when we step off the bus through intimidation. Our guys have worked at it but we don’t have the overall bulk and size of the last couple years. We are more spry this year.”

Top returners are Adam Empson (6 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds) and Bruce Jones (4 points, 3 rebounds). The duo started the first half of the season and provided potent substitution strength during the second half.

“We are not returning much in the way of stats,” Casperson said. “My challenge to the guys is that there are opportunities to get on the court and play.”

JDHS averaged roughly 50 points per game, while opponents tallied 57. The Crimson Bears lost leads in the fourth quarter of seven losses. The team’s strength will be athleticism and speed. Weaknesses are lack of experience and a traditional center width in the paint.

“Our record does not indicate the number of games we were in last year,” Casperson said. “We were in them, we just didn’t finish. This year’s group is much different. With what they bring in individual abilities we can’t approach the season the same way.”

Also returning are seniors Kevin Guimmayen, Dartanan Hodge-Campos, and juniors Nathan Klein, Manasa Maake, and Gunnar Schultz. Each has the opportunity to vie for a starting position. Klein (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) is a competitive force inside, Guimmayen and Schultz spent offseason hours on their game and Hodge-Campos is a leader with work ethic.

“With guys so similar, this means our depth will be an attribute,” Casperson said.

First time varsity players are senior Rahul Chhabria, juniors Dorian Isaak and Jacob Thibodeau, and sophomores Kaleb Tompkins and Treyson Ramos.

Tompkins will provide a lift off the bench to knock down shots, Ramos is fearless on the court, Thibodeau will play multiple positions and Isaak is athletic with leadership ability. Chhabria drew praise for his off season commitment.

“He would wake up, hit the weights, go to open gym, stay extra for ball handling and really committed for his senior season,” Casperson said. “Just to make the team his final season and possibly contribute is a success.”

Two freshmen will potentially see minutes at the varsity level, Stewart Conn (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) and Bryce Swofford (6-foot-5, 170).

Conn can create opportunities and attack the basket and is not bashful with taking a shot. Swofford is extremely active and competitive and does not back down from physical play.

“We are going to have moments where it will not look pretty this year,” Casperson said. “I think we are also going to provide a lot of excitement too. This group is committed to playing a style of basketball that is new for us.”

That style begins tonight at the Soldotna Stars in a tourney that features Southeast foe Ketchikan. JDHS’ bracket includes Bethel against Mt. Edgecumbe. The other side has Colony against Nikiski and Ketchikan plays Kenai. Colony’s Damien Fulp signed to play with UAA next season.

JDHS also hosts the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic (Dec. 27-30), featuring Dimond, North Pole and Cordova. They also travel to a tourney at Lathrop (Jan. 16-18) to play the Malemutes, Monroe and Kodiak.

Thursday November 14, 2013
Hoya on the hardwood - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Professional basketball trainer and recruiter shares at basketball clinic.

Whether on dirt courts with shoeless youth or club gyms in nice neighborhoods, basketball purity is found in the joy of innocent play.

“The smile is universal,” Joe Touomou said. “Wherever you go. The funny part is when you go to those poor countries, the kids seem to be even happier over there. Despite all the struggles, you would be surprised how happy they are, every where you go.”

The smiles.

That is the first thing you noticed on the Juneau-Douglas High School basketball court as players, male and female, ran through drills led by Touomou, a Washington, D.C.-based basketball trainer and recruiter, and his assistant, Alexander Ujoh, from Nigeria.

Smiles and sweat.

“Yes, yes,” Touomou shouts. “Now you are a player. Now you are working hard.”

A chance encounter two years ago at L.A. Fitness in Silver Spring, Md., between Touomou and Crimson Bears forward Bruce Jones and his parents, led to the offer to bring the trainer to the JDHS pre-season basketball clinic over the Veterans’ Day weekend. Jones also attended training seasons with Touomou in Maryland.

“I like his body frame and I like his basketball IQ,” Touomou said of Jones. “He needs to put some muscle on his body, but he could play college if he wants to work hard enough.”

Touomou knows about working hard.

Born and raised in Cameroon, he grew up playing soccer.

Returning from boarding school one year he discovered a basketball court had been built across the street from his home.

“All my friends were playing,” Touomou said. “I thought why not try. Things went pretty fast because back then you didn’t have Internet, cell phones or cable TV. We spent a lot of time on the basketball court, and that is how I became a basketball player.”

This was when he encountered his best-remembered smile.

“We had a big game and Cameroon soccer star Roger Miller came to a game. I made a basket and I saw him clapping his hands for me,” he said. “Just to look at him sitting there and encouraging me was big.”

At age 16, playing in the African Championships in Egypt, Touomou was approached by Rob Meurs, a scout for the NBA. Meurs would later start Court Vision, a basketball scouting agency, and was hired by NIKE and Adidas.

The meeting led to Touomou attending Williamsport High School, a preparatory school in North Carolina for one year before college.

Touomou played four years for Georgetown University under legendary coach John Thompson, graduating in 1999 after a senior season as the team’s captain.

His career included a knee injury in 1995 and at 6-foot-2, his career scoring average of 1.9 points per game did not attract much attention from NBA scouts.

In 2000 he suffered a shoulder injury playing professionally for Antibes in France.

With a degree in government studies and international relations, he weighed options to work for the World Bank and World Health Organization.

“I always felt like there was unfinished business,” Touomou said. “I was never able to play basketball at the level I felt like I was able to play.”

Touomou retired from basketball and worked under University of Missouri coach Quin Snyder for two years until taking a job with the Indiana Pacers in 2003 as an international scout. That job ended when new team president Larry Bird brought his own coaching staff in. Touomou also joined many non-profit organizations and sport programs after college to give back.

“My country was a third-world country and I knew there were contributions I could make through sports,” Touomou said. “I just got involved. I wanted to share the knowledge I had accumulated throughout the years.”

His efforts have included the Cameroon Olympic Basketball Program, Adidas Nations, ABasketball (Basketball for Africa), Giants Of Africa, and SEED (Sports for Educational and Economic Development), NBA’s Basketball Without Borders, the Ring True Foundation and his own JT World Training Centers, which provides scouting services to professional teams and training professional players in their offseason and rehabilitation.

He is also an instructor for the State Department program Sports United that brings coaches from other countries to George Mason University for training. Touomou has traveled to over 50 countries through his work. He is a former Cameroon National Team coach and is being considered for a position as the Qatar National Team coach.

“Some areas of Africa, the kids love the game so much,” Touomou said. “In Africa many youths play on dirt courts with no shoes. They sometimes have to cut a bucket and hang it up for a rim, just like when basketball was created.”

The love of the game is spreading in Africa as TV has taken hold and young people relate to basketball players and musicians more now than soccer players. They encounter the same problems as American youth who learn the game.

“A lot of kids, especially the younger ones, it is the details that separates the average from the good,” Touomou said. “Footwork can be a problem but the biggest thing is shooting. Kids have a hard time shooting the ball well. Shooting is all about repetition and most kids don’t practice shooting enough.”

The emphasis in the clinics was on getting open and shooting mechanics. Touomou tells them they can’t shoot the ball if they can’t get open, and they can’t get open if they move like hippos and not cheetahs.

“When I work with kids I like to keep my workouts entertaining,” Touomou said. “I like to see a kid happy when he works out. It helps me get the message across and share the knowledge with him.”

When Touomou’s sessions ended the players caught their collective breaths and grabbed refreshments.

One by one they approached him. Their faces smiling. Their bodies swept up in his huge hugs.

“Thanks for coming,” Treyson Ramos said, embracing the powerfully built former professional player.

“You taught me so much,” Jacob Thibodeau said. “Thank you.”

“Yes, yes, thank you for having me,” Touomou answers. “We will stay in touch.”

Then he points out something individually to each that was intimated in the camp to only them.

Their smiles broaden.

Sunday November 10, 2013
Alaska High School Basketball Begins December 2nd

Monday June 24, 2013
The Best Basketball Camp Around
     The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp was a tremendous success delivering professional instruction to the youth of the region.

Juneau-Douglas High School head coach and camp director, Robert Casperson, would like to congratulate the campers on two phenomenal weeks. He was impressed with the excitement, intensity, and improvement in all the players that attended the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp.

Championship Friday and All-Star Saturday created an electric atmosphere. In the College championship the Duke Blue Devils emerged victorious over the Seattle University Red Hawks. In the NBA championship, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls for the title. Saturday was capped off with all-star games and the presentation of trophies.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp also emphasizes the importance of making healthy life choices. Time was included during the week for special presenters to address multiple topics. Professional basketball player, Talisa Rhea, discussed goal setting with the campers. NCAA Division I football player, Faifo Levale, spoke about the academic requirements necessary to be eligible for college athletics. Jon Malacas of the Johnson Youth Center shared with the campers the realities of making poor choices, including prison food, shackles, and jail cells. Mark Calvert from the AWARE Shelter, Alaska Men Chose Respect, and Coaching Boys into Men presented on positive relationships.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will proudly return in June of 2014.

College Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Caitlin Pusich

Best Passer: Erica Hurtte

Best Defense: Bryson Echiverri

Station Master: Kenzie Campbell

Most Hustle: Malia Miller

Most Improved: Joel Sleppy

Best Rebounder: Caitlin Pusich

Most Valuable Player: Josh McAndrews

All-Stars: Erica Hurtte, Caitlin Pusich, Owen Mendoza, Bryson Echiverri, Luke Mallinger, Derek Boord, Josh McAndrews, Kenzie Campbell, Marlis Boord, and Zoey Kriegmont.

NBA Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Treyson Ramos

Best Passer: Kaleb Tompkins

Best Defense: Treyson Ramos

Station Master: Cristina Arehart

Most Hustle: Justin Miller

Most Improved: Kordell Searles

Best Rebounder: Jesse Lantiegne

Most Valuable Player: Guy Bean

All-Stars: Jesse Lantiegne, Treyson Ramos, Rahul Chhabria, Jacob Galloway, Gunnar Schultz, Moa Maka, Kaleb Tompkins, Manase Maake, Guy Bean, Cristina Arehart, John Yadao, and Kaitlin Fagerstrom.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp operates in proud partnership with the following sponsors and businesses: The Fast Break Club, Commercial Signs & Printing, Oliver’s Trophies and Engraving, McDonald’s, KINY Radio, Kimmel Athletic Supply, Community Schools and RALLY.